Venison tenderloin: the king of all the deer steaks. This special cut of meat doesn't need much to shine! A little salt, pepper, cooking fat, and a cast iron pan are all you need to make the perfect pan-seared venison tenderloin. It's tender, juicy, and oh so flavorful. Give it a try or check out one of these other great venison steak recipes today!
Why This Recipe Works:
Salt. Pepper. Venison. Cast Iron. All you need are a few simple ingredients and you're well on your way to a perfectly cooked venison steak.
A little salt and pepper highlight the rich flavor of the venison without overpowering it. The hot cast iron pan creates a perfect crust on the outside of the meat while keeping the inside tender and juicy. The flaked sea salt on top adds additional flavor and texture to the meat. This truly is the best way to make venison steak!
- Venison Tenderloin: This recipe can be used with any wild game steak. But, the cooking time
- Pork Lard: This recipe uses homemade pork lard but you can use other high-temperature cooking oils like grapeseed, avocado, safflower, etc.
- Flaked Sea Salt: Flaked sea salt is an optional ingredient added after the steak finishes resting. The flavor and texture of the salt add a little something extra to the steak but it isn't necessary!
- Cast Iron Pan: Cast iron pans are great for cooking venison steaks because they hold their heat and develop a nice crust on the outside of the meat. You can use other typical household pans, but I'd suggest investing in a cast iron pan for cooking your venison steaks.
Pro Tip: Sometimes steaks don't quite get to the right temperature when you pan-sear them. Your steaks could be too cold, your pan too hot, etc. As a failsafe, turn on your oven to 375 degrees F and put the whole pan in the oven with the steaks if they're not quite done yet.
Step by Step Instructions:
How to Season Venison Tenderloin:
There are many methods out there on how to season a venison steak. A good venison steak only needs salt and pepper but when and how you season it is important! Read below for a few important notes for seasoning steak.
Pro Tip: Learning how to properly season your steaks takes some trial and error. If you're nervous about over-seasoning your steak, err on the side of caution. You can always add more salt at the table but you can't take it away!
How To Cook Venison Tenderloin in a Cast Iron Pan:
Venison tenderloins and cast iron pans are like a match made in heaven: a time-honored classic that will never get old. See below for a few simple steps to make the best pan-seared venison steak.
Pro Tip: Resting is almost as important as cooking when it comes to steaks. Even the most perfectly cooked steak will lose a lot of moisture if you cut it too early. Let your steaks rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting them!
Putting it All Together:
A perfectly cooked venison steak is a beautiful centerpiece to any special meal. It doesn't need much to shine! A few simple sides like roasted baby potatoes, roasted cauliflower, or a simple green salad with homemade dressing are great pairings for this prized cut of meat. No matter how you serve it, you're sure to enjoy this time-honored classic!
Venison tenderloin should be cooked to 120-125 degrees F for medium rare. Venison tenderloin is a very lean cut of meat and shouldn't be cooked past medium or it will dry out.
Venison tenderloin is a prized cut of meat that doesn't need much to shine. A few simple sides like roasted baby potatoes, roasted vegetables, or a simple green salad will make this prized cut of meat into a delicious meal!
Venison tenderloin is delicious with a simple seasoning of salt and pepper and does not need to be marinated.
Other Recipes to Try:
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Simple Cast Iron Venison Tenderloin
- 2 whole venison tenderloins
- 1 tablespoon lard (or other cooking fat)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- flaked sea salt (optional, for serving)
- Pat tenderloins dry with a paper towel. The more dry the outside of the meat is, the better crust you'll get while cooking.
- Heat cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add lard and swirl to coat the pan.
- Season one side of the tenderloins generously with salt and pepper. A good amount of seasoning will come off in the pan so you want to make sure enough is left on to properly season the steak.
- Place tenderloins, seasoned side down in the hot pan. Season the other side of the tenderloins and cook for 2-3 minutes per side (3 sides total) or until internal temperature reaches 120-125°F for medium-rare.
- You can also do a quick 15-second sear on the sides that don't touch the pan, if they look undercooked.
- Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your tenderloins and the temperature of your pan.
- Remove tenderloins to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Slice or cut into medallions (about 1-1 ½" thick).
- Sprinkle with flaked sea salt, if desired. Serve and enjoy!
- If your tenderloins are on the larger side, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. If the internal temperature of your steaks is low but the outsides are done, put the pan in the oven for a few minutes to finish the steak. Check the temperature frequently so they don't overcook!
- Season the steaks just before cooking. Once you put salt on the steak, it immediately starts drawing the moisture out so it's best to wait as close to cooking as possible to add salt.
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